Jail and fine await parents of Manila curfew violators
It has been a week since Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso strictly enforced the city’s new curfew hours, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., and the reactions have been mixed.
Under Ordinance No. 8547, the parents or guardians of minors caught outside their houses during curfew face “simultaneous fines and jail time” for their “perceived neglect.”
If the curfew violators are aged 12 and below, their parents or guardians will pay a P5,000 fine and face imprisonment of six months. If the violators are kids aged 13 to 14, the penalties will be P3,000 and three months in prison. The fine goes down to P2,000, on top of one month in jail, for the parents or guardians of minors aged 15 to 17. Please note: It is fine “and” imprisonment, not fine “or” imprisonment.
In their initial operations, 11 police community precincts in Manila, including the Special Mayor’s Reaction Team, or SMART, reported that more than 900 minors were “rescued while in violation of curfew.” Of these, 182 were turned over to City Hall’s social welfare office while 71 were returned to their families, but with a strong warning to their parents.
Minors below 12 years old numbered 22 while the majority of those arrested were aged 16, followed by those in the 17, 14 and 15 age brackets. These groups often trigger neighborhood “rumbles” in the Tondo, Binondo and Sampaloc areas. Mayor Moreno ordered barangay chairs and police precinct officials to strictly implement the curfew and submit weekly reports.
Secretary to the mayor Bernie Ang advised “uncooperative” barangay officials to strictly follow the curfew ordinance or face administrative sanctions.
“Do not test Isko’s political will,” he warned.
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This new Manila curfew is different from former Mayor Joseph Estrada’s Ordinance No. 8046 that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in July 2017. The high tribunal said the fines and imprisonment meted out as penalties against minors were in conflict with Section 57(a) of Republic Act No. 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.
In the same decision, the court upheld Quezon City’s curfew ordinance, SP-2301 Series of 2014, as legal and compliant with guidelines. Quezon City’s curfew hours are from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the parents or guardians of first-time offenders are fined P2,000 “or” penalized with 42 hours of community service. For second-time offenders, there is a P3,000 fine or 72 hours of community service. A P5,000 fine or six-month imprisonment is imposed on the parents of those caught a third time. But on the fourth offense, the children are taken away from their families and brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Take note again the wordings—fine “or” community service—are in contrast with that of the Manila ordinance. This means parents in Quezon City can either pay the fine or render community service.
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The recently signed RA 11360, or the service charge law, has pushed the hotel and restaurant industry to engage in heated debates over its soon-to-be-issued IRR (implementing rules and regulations). The new law says 100 percent “service charges” should be “completely and equally” distributed among covered workers, except “managerial employees.” Previously, 85 percent of service fees were given to employees and the remaining 15 percent retained by management (Presidential Decree No. 850, December 1975).
Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III must be very careful here as the reactions touch on problems of wage distortion and dissension. Not everyone in our favorite restaurants is happy about the new law.
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